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Uggla extends streak as Braves beat Marlins

Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla hits solo home run against New York Mets in New York
Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla hits solo home run against New York Mets in New York

MIAMI (Reuters) - Atlanta's Dan Uggla closed in on Major League Baseball's longest hitting streak of the season as the Braves beat the struggling Florida Marlins 8-5 on Monday.

Uggla stretched his hitting streak to 29 games with a lead-off single in the fifth inning, moving one short of the 30-game streak produced by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Andre Ethier.

Uggla, who finished 1-for-3, had to beat out a throw to first base for his lone hit to keep the streak alive.

"Every hit counts," Uggla told reporters. "I'll take the infield ones with the doubles in the gaps. Hitting ain't easy."

With Atlanta up 4-2 after four innings, Alex Gonzalez smashed a three-run homer in the fifth to pad the Braves' lead and set up their fourth win in five games.

Braves starter Derek Lowe allowed two runs in six innings to snap a three-game losing streak and Atlanta (67-49) kept a firm grip on the National League Wild Card race.

"Any time you get runs you get confidence," Lowe said. "It was a game where the runs definitely helped."

Florida's Greg Dobbs hit a solo homer in the eighth while John Buck launched a two-run shot in the ninth but it was too little too late.

Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth to record the final two outs for his 35th save of the season, condemning the Marlins (55-60) to their fifth consecutive loss. Florida are bottom of the NL East.

Atlanta jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning where infielder Freddie Freeman had a two-RBI single, before Florida hit back with two runs in the third.

Florida's rookie starter Brad Hand (1-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs in five innings.

Uggla has got into gear after a dreadful start to the season when he was hitting just .173. His average is now up to .220.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout, while Freeman was also thrown out in the eighth for complaining about striking out.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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